Greedy Goblin

Monday, July 14, 2014

The value of different farming activities

People wrongfully believe that the currency of EVE is ISK, despite players can farm and use it as any other material. NPCs don't act as market actors, if everyone is buying the same skillbook, it won't get more expensive. The real currency of EVE is PLEX. It's directly connected to real world money and real world time. The PLEX equilibrium price is where people consider 1 hour farming in the game and 1 hour earning money in real life equal.

I picked different items to represent different farming activities. Tritanium represents mining, a popular T2 module represents moon mining, Tengu represents WH farming, a high volume faction ammo represents missioning for LP, a (relatively) high volume deadspace module represents looting complexes and ISK represents bounty farming. I choose different quantities so they all cost about 1 PLEX a year ago. The chart tells how their price vs PLEX changed in the last year:
The only kind of farming that kept its worth is T2. The reason is obvious: you can't farm moons harder. Mining barely lost value, tritanium is only 9% cheaper. So you have to mine 10% more to get a PLEX. You need 1.4x more ratting bounties to get a PLEX as ISK lost 29% of its value. If you mission for LP, you need to do it 1.6x more for the same reward. Tractor units send their regards: you need to loot 1.8x more wrecks for the same PLEX. But the largest losers are WH farmers, probably because of easier looting, salvaging and the scanner that alerts incoming holes: one has to sell 2.2x more Tengus to get a PLEX than a year before.

The constant nerfs of PvE and and the overboard multiboxing made all kind of farming activities less profitable, with no sign of slowing down. We know that a PLEX is well over 2B ISK in the Chinese server, due to even larger farming and probably less strict bot-hunting. This can easily be the future of Tranquility, an economic situation where farming is only profitable for botters and cliche-nolifers, everyone else, especially newbies must buy PLEX from real money. This simply bans casual players from the PvE and industry content of EVE. Not a good perspective for CCP.

PS: Bling minion of evil down! Some more morons. Charon and Nightmare in the same system. Co2 is still bad. Great fit!

Finally, a reason why NPC living pirates should avoid large-fleet engagements against CFC, just as I wrote: A 110B loss, 50B kill battle between BL-PASTA-Mordus and CFC. It started pretty well, but then a 200 men blob arrived and smashed them. Yes, winning battles the day before was surely fun. But that was an outlier and this battle is the norm. PASTA and MoA should keep away from large fleet engagement or only participate in bombers or other cheap auxiliary ships. Massacring CFC goes well in small gang, why spoil it with such defeats? Also, everyone and his mother are now in Delve, they could redeploy into some unguarded backyard of CFC to slay the unsuspecting minions of evil.


bluto said...

For this sort of data starting your chart with all values scaled to 100 in January may present the information more clearly.

mugg said...

And what about the time it takes to farm those items? I think comparing a Tengu to faction ammo is a bit of odd, since the former takes many more steps to create.

Gevlon said...

@muqq: no new steps were introduced in making a Tengu, so the only thing changed are the raw materials.

@bluto: yes, but 387.16 adaptive invus look stupid.

Lucas Kell said...

"This simply bans casual players from the PvE and industry content of EVE."
Why does it ban people? Other MMOs require people to pay real money for access to PVE activity, so why would EVE doing the same be so much worse? PVE activity isn't solely designed for people to farm for plex.

Gevlon said...

In other MMOs the only (legitimate) way of getting items is farming them. This is often enforced by "soulbound"-ing, making it impossible to get it from others.

In EVE there is a simple legit way of getting items: spending real money on PLEX, selling it and buying the item.

Because of the prices, the skillpoint demand and their future trends, if you wish to build your battleship from minerals mined by yourself, you are an idiot. The optimal way is spending the price of a coffee on it and buying it.

The only reasonable way of mining is a 20+ multibox fleet with a max-skilled refiner.

Lucas Kell said...

"Because of the prices, the skillpoint demand and their future trends, if you wish to build your battleship from minerals mined by yourself, you are an idiot. The optimal way is spending the price of a coffee on it and buying it."
And if the only reason to do PvE was grinding items, that might be a point, but it's not. A "causal" player doesn't sit around thinking about how much they can grind, they simply pay for their gametime and play the game. PvE to a casual player that enjoys PvE is entertainment.

I think the problem is you say "casual", but you aren't talking about casual players. You are talking about people that have little time to play but still want to be as effective as a hardcore gamer, grinding PvE for isk and nothing more. In no game is that a possibility (as a rule, I'm sure there's the odd scenario it's possible with). If you play more, you can get more.

The fact that you can also buy plex if you want to in EVE actually makes the game moreaccessible to real casual gamers, and the higher the value of plex, the more they get out of it. A casual gamer can replace the time they can't play with an additional payment which grants them isk. The higher the plex value, the more isk they get for their payment. It's the hardcore games who grind isk for plex that get hit by plex price increases, and to be honest, they will need to go up to considerably more than a couple of B before it's a problem.

By the way, there are more MMOs than just WoW and EVE. You'll find "soulbinding" is not that widespread.

Anonymous said...

Well, the prices for PLEX in ISK will certainly rise for a while, because the demand is higher then the supply. May players use the MCT and spend up to 3 PLEXs on a single account.
As stated before in a post, no or very few new players and less whales that infuse lots of PLEX regularly.
Tractor Units literally ruined normal LV4 looting and, tbh, CCP changed the drop tables as loot in Caldari/guristas Hisec space is worth crap.
CCP ignores PVE content and goes through lots of pain to make PVE mission running simply not enjoyable.
Changing agility and warp speed was not needed at all for balancing purposes, it is just a simple income nerf.

Ratting and running anoms in Nullsec is still 100x OP, but that will not change as CCP really sees to it that 0.0 Heroes have as little to complain about as possible.

So, if PLEX prices continue to rise, which they will, botters will move from Hisec to Nulsec, maybe even as renters and either mine or rat there.

Well, CCP did not develop EVE as a F2P game. Buying PLEX with ingame currency used to be its USP. This has worked as long as the player-base ofe EVE is wide enough. <50k people is by far not wide enough.

As PVP has degraded as well as PVE, and mostly happens in forms of ambushes, or huge fleet size discrepancy, a lot of people are nat attracted by this way of "unfair" pvp. they prefer pvp like on WoT, WarThunder, LoL, or countless FPS titles.

Logging in and losing lots of stuff that in the near future will have to be replaced via buying PLEX and trading it for ISK will change the character of this game as it will add some sort of pay2win traits...

Steve White said...

Let's not forget an important factor here. PLEX prices may indeed remain at $19.99 USD apiece (which is understandably why you use it here as a stable standard against which to compare these things), the value of that $19.99 is not constant, and indeed has been subject to inflation.

While real-life inflation will not have a perfect 1:1 reflection in PLEX prices, the devaluing of currency may very well be a contributing factor to the inflation of PLEX itself.

Still,ignoring these things and simply assuming PLEX (and real money) to be constant in value from year to year, this is a clever way to compare the values of these activities.